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Talon and Fang

Heart of the World: Book 1

The struggle to save the future finds a treacherous new battlefield: The past

Mark Ellis

Cover Artist:
Cliff Nielsen

First Edition

Release Date:
May, 2003

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July, 2005

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Kane finds himself thrown twenty-five years into a parallel future, a world where the mysterious Imperator has seemingly restored civilization to America. In this alternate reality, only Kane and Grant have survived, and the spilled blood has left them estranged. Yet Kane is certain that somewhere in time lies a different path to tomorrow's reality -- and his obsession may give humanity their last chance to battle past and future as a sinister madman controls the secret heart of the world.

In the Outlands, the shocking truth is humanity's last hope.

Back Cover:

Imperium of Evil

Two centuries have tortured earth's nuke-altered frontier into a grim new world, clasped in the bloody vise of a power struggle between hybrid barons and a mysterious Imperator. A soldier turned renegade, Kane and his band of exiles have learned the horrifying truth of earth's ageless domination -- knowledge that has led them to the secret realms of humanity's master manipulators where they battle against a dark interloper's blueprint for doom.

Matrix of Salvation

Kane finds himself twenty-five years into a parallel future, a world where the mysterious Imperator has seemingly restored civilization to America, overthrowing the baronial oligarchy -- with the help of the Cerberus exiles. In this alternate reality, only Kane and Grant survived the battle, and its spilled blood has left them estranged. Yet Kane is certain that somewhere in time lies a different path to tomorrow's reality... and his obsession may be humanity's last chance to battle evil in two worlds -- the past and the future -- where a sinister madman controls the heart of the world.


Major book in the series
by Robey
Six years ago Exile to Hell, the first in the Outlanders series introduced Kane, Brigid, Grant, Lakesh and all the colorful concepts and vivid ideas. The books were filled with great adventure in exotic places, gory battle scenes, wonderfully sexy women, armored heroes, world-threatening menaces and fascinating villains.

Readers of the last two and half years worth of books know that the mysterious Sam the Imperator has made in-roads in consolidating all the baronies under his rule.

Now 27 years (OL time) after Exile to Hell, the novel Talon and Fang shows the results of all those adventures and it's not pretty. Kane is a battle-scarred wacko living in a half-demolished Cerberus redoubt with only a samurai sword, a crazy plan and the least likely person imaginable as his companions.

The world is at peace due to the final victory of Sam many years before but the cost has been very, very high and he secretly arranged it to be exceptionally high for the Cerberus warriors. But Kane is suspicious and when he gets suspicious he takes action. In this case, the action he takes can save all of humanity, throughout history. I can't think of too many heroes who have a duty like that thrust upon them, but since Kane is fundamentally a hero instead of a stone killer, he accepts the responsibility, regardless of the price. He knows that survival at any cost isn't always possible or even desirable.

It's a strange world for Kane (and the reader), one in which most of the characters we've come to admire and even love through 24 previous books have changed greatly. It's sad to read about the Consolidation War because of all the personal tragedies suffered by the main characters.

Talon and Fang proves once and for all that not only is Outlanders is the best sci-fi series published today, the author shows that an adventure novel can be written that is intelligent and doesn't skimp on the action. The action in this novel is varied from one scene to another and therefore rivets the reader's attention. This book has a lot of emotional depth to it and there are some scenes that I found difficult to read because they were upsetting (hey, after all these years I consider the characters my friends and family!).

Mark Ellis handles all the characters expertly here (even new ones, like the delectable but dangerous Tanvirah as well as unexpectedly returning ones), and finds a full role for Bry, a character who has been around since the beginning but only in a supporting capacity. The author also impresses some of his own ideas about the nature of heroism and self-sacrifice. If any book in the OL series establishes the basic differences between it and DL, Talon and Fang may be the one. And as usual, the writer has also researched his science, and brings us a new and very original take on time travel. I also loved the cover and all the little details worked into it.

This is a wonderful novel to read, not just a great Outlanders novel. I can't recommend this one highly enough.
by Daniel
Wow! I was hoping for something a little special when I started reading "Talon and Fang” but I wasn't quite expecting the wild ride that this novel contained. One of the things I’ve always enjoyed about Outlanders is how the series can be unpredictable and this book really surprises the reader.

The majority of it takes place over 25 years in the future and things are a lot different and not very good different either. Kane’s life has been for the most part filled with tragedy and that in turn has made him bitter and unstable. He has a plan to change his present in the past but for it to work he has to convince his most deadly enemy to help him. Longtime readers probably can guess who this is.

The author introduces a great new female character, Tanvirah, who is seductive, beautiful and deadly. And yeah, the fight between her and Kane is a lot like the fight between Wolverine and Lady Deathstrike in X2 even though I'm sure this book was written first!

And there is also Sam, the Imperator and he’s a much more dangerous adversary than he has ever been before. He more or less conquered the world 20 years ago, now he wants to conquer time and space and his plan is such that actually might able to do it!

This book answers several questions, mainly about the REAL identity of Sam...and it's the quite shocker.

Also, If there was ever any question about who the greater hero is, Kane or Cawdor, this book answers it once for all. As the book says, “No single man in the past two hundred years probably had a reputation to equal Kane’s” and Talon and Fang shows why that is!

There are so many high points to cover in this novel: a great villain, heart-breaking revealations, excellent characterizations, super-fast-paced plot, and incredibly exciting action sequences, from sword fights to aerial battles between Mantas and Dragonflies.

Add them together and you have one of the best, if not THE best Outlanders novels yet published. I’m dying for part two of Heart of the World, Sea of Plague.

I feel sorry for the few DL-only readers out there who can't see any further than dirt, boots and daisies. You're really missing out.

Talon and Fang is fantastic on every level including the cover, and a must-read for any fan. Outlanders is not just the best but the COOLEST action-adventure series out there!
One of the best books yet!
by The Phantom
Seldom does Science fiction adventure writing get as entertaining as
this. In this brilliantly crafted novel, Mark Ellis takes the series
once again in fresh, new and fascinating directions that are not just
entertaining, but memorable. At this point in most series, the magic
and freshness of books tend to fall into some form of generic
stagnation either in general or at least fall into some sort of
predictable or run-of-the-mill product, whether the quality of the
writing remains good or not.

But with Talon and Fang, being number 25 in the OL series, Ellis has
created a novel that is not only well-written, but unpredictable,
captivating, and UNIQUE.

The storyline at this point is weighed heavily on the reader's
familiarity with what has happened before with the characters, and the
history of the events in general of the series. While it is not
necessary for a reader to have read all the books up to this point,
there are a few key novels early in the series and the Imperator Wars
trilogy that will be recommended to understand and enjoy the full
impact of Talon and Fang. Even so, the author does a good job of
including enough backround info to catch up the reader.

This novel is told from an entirely new perspective from the beginning,
at about 30 years in the future, and revolves primarily on the
character of Kane. This is a fascinating look at his future, or at
least a probable future, as this is in a sense a time travel novel,
with the underlying theme of "if we go back in time and change this we
might avoid todays crappy world". While this in itself isn't a new
idea, however the way this is weaved into the world of OL is very
imaginative and entertaining. One of the reasons I like this series so
much is Kane's recognition that thing are not the perfect world
everyone else seems to be led to believe, but far from it, the opposite
,in fact, and is willing to be a hunted outcast and go and do something
about it. Kane and his friends are just the kind of heroes I want to
read about.

I was amazed at scenes between Kane and Grant, the portrayal of
everyones future and fate, the brief history of the intervening years,
a new character called Tanvirah, and most of all... without giving away
any spoilers, the instrument by which Kane uses to go back in the
past... and I'm not talking about just the amazing sci-fi technology

I was taken completely by surprise, and I knew at this point in the
story, things were REALLY going to get interesting! And does it ever,
the revelations at the end of this book are incredible, the adventure
is fun and the book leaves off with an epilogue that demands the second
book of this duology be picked up immediately.

Once again, Ellis has produced an outstanding piece of work sci-fi readers should not miss out on!
Way Beyond Awesome
Talon And Fang is probably my favorite book in the Outlanders saga and that's really saying something, because I have thoroughly enjoyed every installment that was written by series creator Mark Ellis and he has written almost all of them.

But this one is truly something special as we leap into the future and follow the adventures of an older Kane as he attempts to find a way to set right what went so wrong in his past. This Outlanders future is shocking and disturbing and the fates of many of the major characters will literally make your jaw drop.

Talon And Fang is full of twists and surprises, suspense and adventure. Several things that I expected to happen, that I felt just had to happen, well...they didn't happen. And things I never expected slammed me upside the head like Mike Tyson on a bad tattoo day. Mark Ellis disdains the stereotypical and always manages to have several interesting tricks up his sleeve.

I can't recommend this book or this series enough.

Mark Ellis is the real deal, the best there is at what he does, a writer at the pinnacle of his powers apparently on a quest to redefine the term "brilliance."

Be good to yourseves, people. Eat healthy. Take your vitamins. Get plenty of exercise. Take time to smell the roses. And READ OUTLANDERS.

What can I add?
by Cerberus Man
There's not much I can add to the raves about Talon and Fang that hasn't already been posted!

This book can stand on its own against all better-known science-fiction adventure novels out there.

From the gripping opening with Tanvirah and the final scene in Cerberus, Talon and Fang flows in a headlong pace, full everything that makes the Outlanders series the "Thinking Man's Action-Adventure Series".

Meticulously researched speculative science, great characters, colorful settings, fabulous action scenes (samurai sword-fights from aerial battles) and tragedy makes Talon and Fang a stand-out in a series that's already achieved classic status.

I pity the po' fools who are still slogging through DL and haven't read Talon and Fang!
Talon and Fang
by BJM
First off this book had me a bit confused at the start because it takes place almost excusively 25 years in the future of the OL world. There is no lead in or at least not right away as one would expect. Never the less this book has something for everyone, the return on not one but two of the Exiles old foes, a shocking revelation as to Sam the Imperators true motives and indentity, as well as a glimpse into the hellish future that is in store for the cerberus exiles.

Kane and Grant, and OL's trade mark science is around every corner of this story from start to finish. The Kane and Grant we've come to know over the past five plus years are nothing like the two men that are presented in this story. This story is one of the most important to date, as it yet again shifts the focus and direction of the series down another path, introducing new enemies as well and hinting at changes that may result from the ripples this Story is bound to send through out the entire Cerberus crew, especially Kane. The ending of this story is one of the best to date, leaving Kane to make a choice and forcing him to place the fate of the future in the hands of the last person you would expect him to place his faith in. Not to mention the sudden changes this character seems to under go through out book. Which left me to wonder if this character would be drasticly affected by the revolations and events that they witnessed. Leaves me drooling for more and wishing August would get here quicker!! Another stealer effort put out by Mark Ellis. 10 out of 10, any less would be a crime!!
Heart of the World Book #1 reaches deep!!
by One Eye Chills
WOW!! Mark Ellis just continues to astonish and surprise his reader fans. Once again he throws us off with yet another storyline that continues to make this series go into the legendary status that it deserves.
How this series is not on the best-selling list is way beyond me! Mark Ellis takes us on a journey into the future that shows us a parallel world in which we get to see just what might happen to our characters in their myriad forms.
I don't even want to spoil anything in this particular novel because it is such a pleasant and breath-taking surprise.
I liked this fresh and exciting look into 'what might have been or could be' future.
Mark Ellis, you should be given a huge pay raise for just coming up with this stuff! I can see as a writer, wanting to explore this avenue without having to write another twenty-or-so novels to get there.
Here we see 25 years into the future and what might have happened. The first half of the book just keeps boggling your mind as to just how ambitious this saga really is. Amazing, simply excellent ideas and colorful settings just leave you wanting for more. My only complaint here is just not enough bloody action for this action freak. The beginning for me was the best part because of it, but all the telling of the past wars was killing me - I wanted to be there and read about those.
But the ending here just made me all the more look forwards to reading Heart of the World #2 - SEA OF PLAGUE.
I'll be there with bells and blasters on!
A Campaign of Shock and Awe!
by Doug!
F'get Donald Rumsfeld. Mark Ellis is the master of shock and awe, once more flexing his mental muscles and stretching the post-apocalyptic world first invented by Jack Adrian and expanded by Lawrence James. From the in the grit world of the Deathlands, Ellis has expanded to a universe where time and space can be the plaything of a mad god, and our only hope is...

well... that would be telling.

This was a disorienting novel, and I kept waiting for the "intro" to be over and reality to snap back to normal time, but the whole book is the wholly satisfying and intricate construction of a world nearly 30 years after the Imperator Wars, a world full of sadness and amazement. There are glimpses of what the Cerberus exiles can do to make the Baronies and the Outlands into, and the sad outcomes of a world gone mad.

Old enemies and a new enemy arrives, and I have to say, the old enemies were treats to meet, and the new enemy is wow.

And as always, Kane proves himself bad ass - physically, mentally and verbally, even at age 60. I love it when Kane cuts loose. At his age, he's a man who can outplan...

well that would be telling.

Just read this book, dammit. Woo!
Warning, heavy spoilers in effect
by Outlanders
Talon and Fang is, without a doubt in my mind, the best novel that Mark has written in the entire series.

It’s what would be called a Flashpoint. To any new readers to the series, it’ll be very confusing if they pick up the older novels after reading this one.

Mark has written a novel that is very emotional, tragic, but touching and out and out uproariously funny in several sections.

It begins almost thirty years into the future. The entire face of the Outlands has been changed, much to the efforts of the Cerberus exiles.

Sam has taken total control of the continent, and a good part of the world as well. The nine baronies were destroyed completely in a five year war that took place after Cobalt managed to rebuild his power base and launched an all out assault against Cerberus.

Kane, Grant, Lakesh and Bry are the only ones who managed to survive the wars. Both Kane and Grant were instrumental in the victory over the nine barons, but the cost to both men was insurmountable.

Grant lost Shizuak, and Kane lost his wife, Brigid, when they rescued him from the hands of a cult, The Nirodha, based in India. That single even left more of a scar on Kane than any of the wounds that he had suffered over the many years he spent as a Magistrate, and then an exile fighting the Barons.

He has spent over twenty years researching a means to travel back in time to fix what had happened, so that he wouldn’t have to suffer as he has. Even Grant, his partner, and his best friend, turned his back on Kane, thinking that he has become totally fused out because of what happened.

Kane however, has a plan. Sindri disappeared, and was never heard from again, but Kane realized what the little man did. He managed to trap himself in Zero time, using the operation Chronos facilities on Thunder Isle, just before the reactor reached critical mass. He is critical to bring about Kane’s plan to life.

As always, Kane has a number of obstacles to overcome. First and foremost is Tanvirah, the daughter of Lakesh and Erica van Sloan. She is now the Scorpio Prime of the Nirodha cult, like her mother before her. She is under Sam’s orders to try and win Kane over, with any means at her disposal. Grant even tries to stop him, and the fight that ensues is one of the more entertaining scenes in the novel.

But, despite as crazy as he appears, Kane’s whole scheme might actually work, and after bringing Sindri back from the Zero time he had been trapped in. Together, he and Sindri use the remaining TAV to travel to the City of High River, formerly known as Cobaltville.

Surpassing even more trials and tribulations, they reach the city only to be captured and whisked off to China where they would face Sam, the Imperator.

Here, Kane confronts the hybrid and discovers exactly who and what he is, and during the confrontation, he learns the Imperators great plans. His own plan to send Sindri back in time actually succeeds, but at the cost of his life.

Once again, this is the best novel that Mark has written to date, and I am very eager to read the conclusion.